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Mallow - Malva sylvestris
Family - Malvaceae
Also known as - Common Mallow, Cheeses, Round Dock
A perennial spreading plant with erect tough stems growing to a height approaching 1.3m (4ft) but occasionally 2m (6.5ft) in some of the numerous cultivars. Malva sylvestris is considered to be the type species for the genus. Widespread and common in the South, but scarce in the rest of the UK and elsewhere, it is found in North Africa as an annual and the Mediterranean as a biennial. It was originally native to Western Europe, North Africa and Asia. Upright or spreading habit of verges, wasteland, disturbed ground, hedgerows and railway embankments but most often found as a garden cultivar with many variants.
Rounded palmate leaves with five to seven shallow lobes and toothed edges. Stalked flowers of purple veined pink consisting of five petals 25–40mm (1–1.6in) across, appear June to early October. An introduced species to eastern Australia, United States, Canada and Mexico, probably as an escapee. It has been used in the past for May Day celebrations being woven into garlands or draped around doorways. Green and yellow dyes can be made from the plant and seeds. Common Mallow is called Malva neglecta in USA.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Mallow – Malvus sylvestris is eaten or used as an herbal remedy. Mallow leaves were used in Europe as a boiled vegetable. The seeds can be made in to a decoction as a diuretic or laxative.
Confused with Ground Ivy
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